LETTER  from Eivind & Heidi _ ICELAND, Hot springs - AUGUST 2012
Also Reykjavik has an Opera on the quay side - The Oslo Opera house was built when we were enroute...
 
At Thingvallir - the Vikings cour t- the tectonic plates slide apart by 2cm each year!
 
"Litle Geysir" was scary, "BIG Geysir" was out of order but...
 
..."Stokkur" was blowing skyhigh!!
 
One of the less active vulcanoes nearby Reykjavik.
 
"Hotur Potur !!!"
 
 

Saga island and hot springs

A few nautical miles off the coast the fog cleared – it felt like Greenland’s mountains wanted to wave ”good bye” – before the fog again was dense around Empire. It calmed down and we had to motor for a few hours – before the wind picked up again. We saw a couple of big icebergs on the radar when we were still close to the east coast og Greenland. Our last sightings of ice...
The wind stayed between S and SW all the way until we the fifth day only had a few nautical miles left to Reykjavik. With a little assistance from the engine, we tied up in Reykjavik just before the wind really picked up – from the east.
Safely moored to the dock near the opera in the capital of Iceland, we felt like being back in “warm” waters. The sea temperature was up to 12°C!

More people aboard
As soon as we connected to the Internet, there was an email from Wilhelm in the inbox. He was wondering if we wanted company. We did not know when the weather would allow us to sail on, so the answer was easy – ”Welcome aboard, Wilhelm. As long as you come where we are...” Next morning there was a new email from Wilhelm. “I hope you will stay in Reykjavik until tomorrow. My plane will arrive at 1400…” Wilhelm was looking forward to 3 to 4 weeks on board – he might join us for the leg to Norway!

Tourist in Iceland
We picked up Wilhelm at the airport in a rental car. With his luggage safely on board Empire, we drove ”the Golden Circle” in the surroundings of Reykjavik. Gullfoss, Geysir and Stokkur, and Tingvallir were all inspected by the Empire crew. Iceland has a fantastic nature – and steam is smoking out of the ground many places.
The Blue Lagoone is the most famous hot spring on the Saga island, but we left that one to the “tourists”. Instead we enjoyed several of the local pools in Reykjavik. Warm water in the pools and several ”Hotur Potur” with varying temperatures up to 45°C, gave salvation for the body. And in the ”Hotur Potur”s we met the Icelandic people on their home ground – where they spend some of their spare time…
 
North of – or south of?
We experienced lively days in Reykjavik under Reykjavik Marathon, we saw more of the town and surroundings and we stocked up Empire for the voyage toward Norway. When we threw off  from Reykjavik we planned to sail north around Iceland – and maybe directly towards Norway. After downloading the newest grib files just after departure, we thought it might be wise to wait a few days, for better winds. First stop turned out just across the fjord – in Keflavik. After a couple of relaxing days in Keflavik we headed south around Iceland – and kept the option open for a voyage to Tromsø and Norway.

”Norwegian” police officer
When we after a few days sailing closed in on ”point of no return” on the east coast of Iceland, grib files suggested it might be a good idea to wait a few days before heading across to our Native Country.
We turned port and in the fjord to Djupivågur, a small village of 500 inhabitants. Shortly after we had tied up, the local police officer came for a visit. He had been studying in Norway years ago, and enjoyed practicing Norwegian again. We got time for more “Hotur Potur” in Djupivågur, and we also managed to see some of the surroundings.

Toward the Heap of Stones
For how long time one should wait to be ”sure” to get a nice sail, is not always easy to say. After two days in Djupivågur we took the chance, and set of for Tromsø and Norway – between two low pressure systems on their way north in the North Sea. Maybe the decision was a bit risky, but it turned out to be a beautiful voyage. Maybe a bit windy for some of the crew (read Wilhelm’s letter...), but still a nice and memorable sail towards Norway.
When the mountains of Lofoten the fifth day underway rose from the sea on starboard bow, the hair on our arms were standing straight out. Neither 1. Mate nor Captain were able to talk. Even Eirik and Marius understood that something special was about to happen. Also Wilhelm – that hadn’t been away from Norway that long – thought it was a big and special experience to arrive in Norway this way!
 
Toward Malangen – and Tromsø – and NORWAY!!!
When the sun rose over the mountains next morning, we were heading in Malangen aiming at Hekkingen Lighthouse. The home run up the fjord to Rystraumen was fast, and the current took us quickly through Rystraumen. Safely through the strong tidal current we turned port – and over the bow we sighted the metropolis of Nordland a few nautical miles ahead. Eirik ran around on deck and understood that mum ad dad were not themselves.
Just as we spotted Tromsø Harbor, we also saw Johanna - previous crew on the Norwegian yacht ”Go Beyond” that we got to know in the Indian Ocean – bicycling quayside to catch our lines. HELP!!! – A fantastic feeling, but also wistful to be back in Norway after so many faboulos years. Luckily we still had a couple of months sailing, south along the Norwegian coast, to get used to some of the domestic life…

Iceland is a spectacular view
also when seen from the ocean!
Djupivågur - a small town on
the Icelandic east coast.
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